Construction of two residence halls is underway at Eastern Kentucky University to provide new student housing options in fall 2017. Once complete, the new Martin and Brockton Halls, funded through a public-private partnership (P3), will offer a total of 1,096 beds in suite-style rooms.
“Amidst this period of decreased state funding, innovative partnerships afford us the opportunity to provide quality student housing that will improve the living and learning environment,” said EKU President Michael Benson. “We will not let the student experience suffer. It has been five decades since EKU has seen this kind of growth, and these improvements are long overdue. Although the campus landscape is changing, a whole new generation of students will find the same welcoming and supportive community our alumni know and love.”
EKU officials note that no state appropriations or tuition revenue are used to finance the construction. The University provides the ground lease and will own, manage and maintain the buildings.
The average age of EKU’s buildings is nearly 50 years, and the new residence halls replace housing with a combined age of 111 years. Updated facilities will reduce maintenance and utility costs to the University while offering students modern amenities and conveniences. Standard suites will feature adjoining bathrooms, and shared living and kitchen spaces are offered within the “super suites”. Each floor includes study and programming areas, with kitchens and laundry facilities on every other floor. Both residence halls also provide classroom space, computer labs and rec rooms, as well as social spaces in the building lobbies.
“A vibrant campus provides more than just basic living structures for students,” said EKU Board of Regents Chair Craig Turner. “The public-private partnership is the perfect mechanism to meet the needs of higher education while utilizing the expertise of the private sector to implement a development plan that allows the University to continue to meet student needs and enhance the learning experience at EKU.”
In addition to new housing, the cooperative venture between F2 Companies, LLC, and Grand Campus Properties, LLC, includes creation of the Carloftis Gardens by famed landscape designer and Kentucky native, Jon Carloftis. To help meet growing parking demand, the project also includes plans being developed for EKU’s first parking garage. The approximately 350-space structure will be located in the Brockton Commuter lot.
“These projects will bolster student life in many ways,” said EKU Executive Vice President and University Counsel Laurie Carter. “We strive to create spaces that will foster academic achievement and strengthen important social interaction. Whether students are studying in small groups in the collaborative learning spaces or relaxing on the beautiful campus grounds these enhancements offer great opportunities to shape our campus community and put students on a path to success.”
The Kentucky legislature, in its 2014 budget, authorized $75 million for EKU’s P3 endeavor. The development team includes Municipal Acquisitions, a Washington, D.C.-based real estate company that invests exclusively in the public sector real estate market, and Kentucky-based EOP Architects and D.W. Wilburn Inc.
“We have found creative ways to continue the momentum of growing enrollment, nationally recognized academic programs, exceptional faculty and staff and the first campus revitalization since the 1960s,” said Benson. “It is a great time to be a Colonel.”
(Rendering of New Brockton Hall)